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VacuVin:  cleaning the pump

 

VacuVin sells a hand-held vacuumpump to remove air from wine bottles and coffee jars in order to prevent oxidation.  The gizmo looks like this:

After some time, the pump became hard to use.  I was convinced it was be possible to fix this, but vendors just wanted me to buy a new one.  As I believe firmly in objects that can be maintained, I decided to see if I could open it.

Dismantling and Cleaning

The pump has three pieces that click together, but they fit very well so it's not easy to dismantle.  First, pull the piston out completely:

Holding the cylinder very firmly, pull hard on the handle, it comes off with some force (you cannot break the pump this way).  It is probably best to do this with two people, and be careful that you cannot hurt yourself falling backwards when the handle suddenly pops off the piston!

You will spot the small ridge all around the top of the piston, it fits in an annular depression inside the handle.  Next, push the piston in:

The same ridge that holds the handle in place also prevents you from driving the piston through the cylinder, just push hard or tap with a block of wood on the piston:  it will pop out.

Pull the piston out completely, you will see a black o-ring which functions as the valve:

Remove the o-ring.  You can lift it with a wooden toothpick or similar device, but be careful not to damage it!

Clean everything thouroughly, especially the black goo that sits inside the cylinder and on the end of the piston.  Lightly apply some vaseline on the o-ring.

Assemble in the inverse order.

How it works

When the piston is pulled up, the o-ring rolls down to the bottom of its groove and sits there snugly, preventing air from getting in from the outside:

When you press down, the o-ring rolls up against the top of its groove, but that has a notch (one on each side), and a slight depression, so the air can escape:

 


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next planned revision: 2004-12-01